Nepal blockade

News in Brief

India should lift the three-month blockade of Nepal immediately, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said on 20 November.

‘The secretary-general is alarmed by reports of the obstruction and destruction of life-saving medical supplies and the continued impact on humanitarian operations,’ his spokeperson said.

The Indian government blames the blockade on protests by Nepali ‘Madhesis’, residents of the low-lying Terai region next to India, who have been protesting against the new Nepali constitution, which they say leaves them under-represented, relative to other ethnic minorities.

In fact, trucks stopped crossing into Nepal even at checkpoints where there were no protests, and Indian border security staff have admitted being ordered to thoroughly search every single truck trying to cross into Nepal.

On 18 November, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF said the blockade ‘threatens the future of the country itself’. Oxfam warned that its humanitarian programme would have to end completely within weeks